Friday, September 15, 2006

San Fran squeaks by Philly

Hey everyone, Josh here. Vinay and David have posted already, so I figured it was my turn. Last Wednesday was a very nerve-wracking match. Although we were heavily favored, Philly has proved a tough nut to crack in the past, and we knew to take them seriously. At first things seemed to be going well. Daniel drew fairly quickly vs. Bengston in his Mechanics debut, when the experienced master offered him an early draw. Although I'm usually not a fan of early draws, this one was quite understandable to me from Daniel's point of view, as he was the only one of us outrated, and he was worse if anything in that ending. Soon after, Dmitry drew as well, unable to make any headway as black against the ultra-solid senior Shahade. That left it up to David and I. David was up on time and well on his way to victory against Rogers, but I was defending a nightmare ending against Costigan. Similar to in my first game, I managed to blunder horribly right out of the opening. The move b5 not only was based on several miscalculations, but it showed I had no strategic understanding of the position whatsoever. It was all I could do to get to a hopeless pawn down ending, which I probably didn't even deserve.

After a bit, things started to look up. David won a fairly smooth game against Rogers, and after a few errors from Costigan (trading the e pawn for the a pawn was especially bad), the situation was starting to look up a bit, though my position still made a raccoon getting hit by a bus look like a pretty sight. However, knowing that I had to hold for our team to win, I really tried to buckle down and "defend like a mofo," as David likes to say. And for the most part that's what I did, with the exception of blundering with 38... Ra5 (39. Rc6 simply wins a piece, or forces a totally won king and pawn ending), that's pretty much what I did. Even so, I was still lost until he made the critical error 58. Nf8. If 58. Nf6 (preventing f5), I'd have to play Ke5 h7 Nxh7 Nxh7 f5 g5 f4+ Kh4! (Kg4 f3! Kxf3 Kf5 draws) f3 Nf6, with the knight hopping to g4 next would have won. 58. Nf8, however, allowed me to escape with f5. The result was a fascinating king, knight, and split pawns ending vs. king knight, in which he was unable to find a win, though he made me dodge nearly every trick imaginable. After managing not to fall for any one-movers, I finally managed to earn the draw by elimating all of his pieces, deducing logically that with no pieces he'd be unable to trick me.

Anyhow, we managed to move to 3-0, despite a rough day at the office. I'd like to thank my teammates for bailing me out a second week in a row, and I want to assure them I can still play good chess, which I intent to demonstrate in future weeks. -Josh


At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

L'Shana Tova to you too.


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